Tag Archive | contractors

Washington hair stylists proved independent contractors can’t be cut

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

One thing is obvious to anyone who’s ever visited a hair stylist: this is an industry that relies on independent contractors, many of whom rent out space from existing salons to work their craft.

Which is why, according to the News Tribune, more than 77,000 Washington state residents signed a petition and 1,000 local hair stylists descended upon Olympia last week to protest against a proposed state senate bill which – if passed – would have significantly affected their livelihoods.

In Washington state, salon owners who use independent contractors instead of employees in their shops enjoy an exemption (up to a certain amount) from paying certain business and occupancy taxes, as well as worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance. That means lost revenues to the state. Which is what prompted the creation of three bills – two in the state senate and one in the house – all with the objective of “leveling the playing field”. Read More…

The US Census Bureau says there are 32m small businesses. They’re wrong

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

For years, whenever someone asked me how many small businesses there are in the US I always have the same response. “About 30m,” I say. Why? Because that’s what the US Census Bureau says. Actually, the number is even more. It’s 32,570,855. But wait … is this really accurate? Are these really small business owners like me?

No, not really. And here’s why: of all these businesses, it turns out that only a third of them actually have employees. Not only that, but according to a report from the Census Bureau’s Adam Grundy, the 76.2% of businesses that had no employees accounted for just 4% of sales of all small businesses. So who are these non-employers? They’re “self-employed individuals operating a very small unincorporated business which may or may not be the owner’s principal source of income,” Grundy writes in a blog for the bureau.

In other words, these are not business owners. Read More…

Is Amazon good or bad for small business?

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

When it comes to small businesses, online retail giant Amazon.com can be a controversial topic.

Ask a few Main Street merchants what they think about the retailer, and you will likely get an earful. The point of view of many is that e-commerce and the Internet itself have significantly hurt their brick-and-mortar businesses. To them, Amazon is the driving force behind that. As I’ve written, a number of retailers — both big and small — have been retrenching or going out of business in recent years. (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

So, is Amazon good or bad for small business? The answer depends on whom you ask. Read More…

This start-up will 3D print your house…for $10K

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

A company says its 3D-printer will print a house. Fast and cheap.

San Francisco-based Apis Cor reported on its blog that on a cold day last December it (and a number of its partners) built an entire 400 square foot house with its custom printer and it only cost $10,000. Oh, and it took just 24 hours to complete.

Others have claimed to build houses with 3D printers. But what makes Apis Cor’s house unique is that it wasn’t constructed from pre-printed panels that required assembly by construction workers. The “printer” used is a giant, mobile piece of crane-like equipment that layers on cement in one continuous process, building both the internal and external structure all at once instead of in multiple parts. It’s a one-story structure but it can be constructed in just about any shape and the company showed how it could be built in even the coldest of conditions in this YouTube video. Read More…

An executive gets arrested in a dispute over whether his workers are full-time or part-time.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Finding good people isn’t easy, particularly in the information technology field where skilled labor is critical. I know this–my firm is also in this field.

Sowrabh Sharma is the part-owner of two IT firms in New Jersey and Ashburn, Va. In our business, it’s not unusual to go from project to project. If you ask anyone who runs an IT firm you’ll likely hear that one of our biggest challenges is how to keep our employees busy (i.e. profitable) when the firm is between projects and there’s not enough work.

Sharma thought he came up with an answer.

But it wasn’t legal. Read More…

Best. Small business advertisement. Ever.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Lots of small business owners are contractors – roofers, electricians, plumbers. And many of them spend money putting the names of their businesses on their pickup trucks and vans as a form of advertising. We’ve all seen them driving around our towns. They’re pretty much the same. Most of the time we don’t take notice.

But you’ll take notice of Nick Hudson’s truck. Go ahead and click here and you’ll see why I say that. Read More…